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A bed bug is small in size, oval shaped, and brown in color. They survive by living on the blood of animals or humans. Before they feed, the adults are about the size of an apple seed and have flat bodies. After they eat their bodies expand and they come red in color.
Even though bed bugs don’t fly, they are fast movers over ceilings, floors, and walls. The females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. The hundreds of eggs are the size of specks of dust.
Nymphs shed skin at least five times before they get to maturity. Before the shedding occurs, they must have blood. When conditions are right, bed bugs can fully grow in little over a month. These nasty insects produce three or more generations per year.
The only great thing about bed bugs is they don’t spread diseases.
Bed bugs can enter your house undetected in your luggage, your clothing, old beds, and furniture, or other items. Getting into tiny, tight spaces is not a problem for them because their bodies are flattened. Similar to the width of a credit card. Unlike ants and bees that have nest; bed bugs live as a group in hidden places. Places like mattresses, bed frames, box springs, and even headboards. These locations provide easy access to bite you at night. Keep reading to learn and effective way of how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress.
One of the bad things about bed bugs is the fact that they travel. They can go through a bedroom and camp out in cracks and crevices or relocate themselves to nearby rooms.
Blood is what keeps them going; not the cleanliness or lack of cleanliness in your house. Bed bugs don’t discriminate; you can find them in extravagant homes and hotel rooms as in dirty ones.
Bed bugs are nocturnal and mainly eat at night by biting people when they are asleep. They have an elongated beak that they use to pierce the skin to withdraw blood. The feeding process takes anywhere from three to ten minutes. Once they have fattened themselves up, the bed bugs crawl away unseen.
Bed bug bites are different from flea bites. Flea bites usually show up around the ankles and have a red spot in the middle. Bed bug bites are usually painless in the beginning and then turn into itchy welts. Also, their bites occur on any skin exposed while you’re sleeping.
If you don’t know what to look out for, then chances are you will attribute the itching and welts to mosquito bites or other causes. Identifying the bed bugs is an important first step to understanding how big of a problem you have.
You might have a bed bug problem if you wake up with an itchy patch that you didn’t have before going to bed the night before. A used bed or used couch could be the reason for this. Here are some other infestation signs:
– Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
– Dark blotches of bed bug feces on your ceiling, walls, mattress or bedding clothes
– Bed bug excrement spots, eggshells, or shed skin in crevices where they hide in groups
– A putrid smell from a bugs’ glands
Here’s what you should do if you suspect an infestation. First, check for signs of excrement on your bedding after removing it. Next, take the dust cover off of the bottom of your bed’s box springs and inspect the seams in the wood frame. Also with the wood frame, make sure you turn back the fabric to expose where it’s stapled.
Last, inspect around your bed. Thoroughly examine any books, telephones or radios. Make sure to investigate the edges of your carpet, any and all electrical outlets, and closet. Bed bugs can attach themselves to clothing.
If after reading this article, you’re still not sure what to look for, then contact an exterminator.
If you have the symptoms or hints of an infestation, then make sure you start the process of getting rid of them permanently. Once you realize you have an infestation, what kills bed bugs fast and instantly.
1. Remove All Bed Bugs From The Headboard and Bed Frame
It is critical that you start cleaning here first because bed bugs flourish in and around the bed area. After all, this is why we refer to them as ‘bed bugs.’ When it comes to infestations, experts say that out of two of three cases the insects are found in three specific areas; bed frames, box springs or mattresses.
To properly clean your bedding area, we suggest using a vacuum and a natural insecticide. Washing your mattress would be a mistake because this will cause mold and mildew to develop; thus giving you an even worse problem. It’s not enough to just remove the bed bugs; it’s vitally critical that your remove all eggs as well. Otherwise, you’re just creating more work for yourself.
2. Try Using A Natural Pesticide
Natural pesticides are non-toxic, very cost-effective and are just as useful as commercial grade pesticides. The most well-known brand an infestation is diatomaceous earth or DE.
You’ll learn more about DE later, but for now, it’s an organic powder created from water plants, and you can purchase it from your favorite gardening store. With just a sprinkle in areas, you know bed bugs dwell, DE will destroy them along with their eggs.
3. Lavender Oil Works Like A Charm
Essential oils have strong scents that keep mite and insect infestations away because all of them hate the smell and taste. Lavender oil is a potent and natural bed bug repellent.
The concentrated form will kill existing bed bugs along with their eggs. Just sprinkle a few drops on your bed frame.
4. You Should Vacuum Everything
Bed bugs can hide everywhere; this is why it’s crucial that you clean the problem area once a week. You must vacuum everything! Below are areas you should focus on:
– Soft furnishings
– Box springs
– Electrical appliances
5. Clean Your Bedding At An Extremely High Temperature
Very High temperatures will destroy bed bugs, mites, bacteria, and microbes. It’s also one of the best ways to disinfect clothes and bedding. The next step is to throw all bedding and clothing in the dryer and store them in plastic bags to avoid a future infestation.
6. Steam Cleaning Is A Great Alternative
You cannot wash everything at high temperatures. Sometimes you have to take things to another level to guarantee total extermination of your bed bug infestation.
Steam cleaning is a powerful weapon for killing bed bugs, their eggs, for penetrating deep into fabric and getting into cracks, crevices, and corners. Areas not easily reachable.
You have two options; one is to higher a professional with state of the art equipment or two, invest in a small handheld steam cleaner. One equipped with high vapor flow and various attachments. The fog-like steam that these devices emit will kill the bugs quickly without you having to see them.
When it comes to the steam; you want to make sure that it’s dry and not wet. Wet steam has the potential of destroying fabric or soft furniture. Just like we instructed you to vacuum everything; steam everything as well.
7. Use Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has a great smell, strong antibacterial properties and it can exterminate all bed bugs in your house.
Include 2% solution and lukewarm water into a spray bottle. On a week or bi-monthly basis you should spray all beds, carpets, furniture and linens.
Yes, heat is an effective way to kill bed bugs. But at what temperature kills bed bugs instantly? Below are three ways to get rid of bed bugs effectively using heat:
The fatal temperature range for bed bugs varies from 117 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot boxes put off this type of heat and higher. They produce higher suggested temperatures to penetrate your belongings within the box, get into crevices that you cannot inspect and kill all bed bugs and their eggs. Place items such as shoes, dry cleaning, blankets, bags of clothing or luggage inside the hot box.
It’s important that you follow the right procedure when heating the box.
Be certain to use caution with this approach because if you use the wrong heating source or incorrectly operate your heat source, then it can cause fires. If the heat source is too hot or if your items are too close to it, then it may damage some of your belongings. Also, if you’re going to be using gas or propane as your heat source, then you want to make sure the right ventilation is in place.
Clothes dryers are great tools for killing bed bugs. Using a washer with hot water alone can destroy them as well, but there are several things that water will harm. It’s a recommendation that you dry items on a very high temperature for about 20 minutes.
Home Heat Treatment
This type of treatment is very effective at killing bed bug infestations, but it is expensive and must be applied by professionals. The home heat treatment involves raising room temperatures to about 117 degrees Fahrenheit; which are fatal levels for bed bugs. These temperatures reach all areas where an infestation can thrive such as cracks, crevices, inside walls, etc. When this procedure is performed correctly, it provides control. It’s common to have bed bug activity when the room heat treatments are complete. It is also a common practice to apply pesticides along with the treatment.
Upholstered furniture is tough to clear of bed bugs because it’s very easy for them to hide in. Steam cleaning is not that useful because it’s a challenge for the steam to get deep enough through the upholstery.
Here are two things we suggest you do to make clearing bed bugs out of upholstered furniture a lot easier. One, use DDVP. DDVP also known as DICHLORVOS is something you can find in Hot Shot No-Pest Strips or Nuvan ProStrips.
DDVP is very efficient at eliminating bedbugs. Two, place your furniture in large plastic furniture bags.
Pesticides are dangerous chemicals and should be used with extreme caution. It’s important that you follow the safety procedures outlined by the manufacturer of the pesticides.
You don’t have to worry about bed bugs hiding in the fabric when it comes to non-upholstered furniture. It’s a lot less of a challenge than upholstered furniture. Even though they can’t hide in fabric; there are still corners, cracks, and crevices that they can bury themselves. The best way to penetrate into those hard to reach areas is a heat treatment. If that’s not your plan, then using a vacuum should be your tool of choice.
Perform the following steps:
1. Thoroughly Vacuum Your Furniture
It’s important that you use your vacuum on the undersides of drawers, cracks, crevices and any other portions of your furniture.
2. If Possible Or Necessary, Use Diatomaceous Earth
In the gaps and crevices of your furniture use some DE without making it hideous. Another solution is to add it to the bottoms of your drawers just in case bed bugs get into them. DE is a messy fine chalky, powder so it’s important that you place your items fastened plastic bags.
3. Caulk The Cracks And Crevices
If you can avoid making your furniture unsightly, then caulking the cracks and crevices is one of the best ways to prevent any bed bugs from hiding.
Yes. Bed bugs can get in your pet’s fur and use them as a way to travel throughout your house. They are experienced hitchhikers and can find their way into your home via your luggage, clothes, couch or bedding. They don’t live on pets as a habitat like mites, ticks, fleas or lice are prone to do, but they will bite your pets.
Clean Your Pet Thoroughly
If you have a bed bug infestation, then you should thoroughly clean your pet because this will eliminate them from their bodies. Below are the steps we recommend you follow:
– Before cleaning, pick an area outside that’s far away from your house
– Groom your pet carefully. Cut off any long hair that might hold bugs.
– Vigorously brush your pet’s hair.
– After grooming; bathe your pet outside in a large basin or tub with an anti-parasite shampoo. This type of shampoo kills bed bugs and eggs. Be very careful not to get any of the shampoo in the pet’s eyes, mouth or ears.
If you’re looking a safe way to win the war against bed bugs, then Diatomaceous Earth should be one of your weapons of choice. DE is a non-toxic, safe to handle and is all natural white powder that originated from fossilized sea creatures called diatoms. These diatoms bodies are mainly made up of silicon dioxide.
DE has three purposes; to kill bed bugs, deter them from traveling throughout your house, and using your home as a bed bug breeding ground.
As excellent as DE is, by itself, it’s still not enough to eliminate your infestation. You should combine DE with the use of heat treatment. Heat treat your items and use DE as a way of controlling the remaining areas of your house. DE presents another choice because as we cautioned before, treating certain things with heat is not always an option.
It Kills Safely
DE is a desiccant. It kills bed bugs by dehydrating them. It’s not equipped with any hazardous pesticides or compounds.
Bed bugs will not crawl through it.
Bed bugs have developed a resistant to some pesticides on the market. They cannot do that with DE.
Diatomaceous Earth Last Long But Acts Slow
With DE it’s a marathon and not a sprint to the finish line. It takes about 7 to 17 days for DE to eliminate your bed bug infestation. The great thing about it is, the results are long-lasting.
DE is a very fine powder. You don’t want to inhale any of the fine particulate matter in your lungs. So follow these guidelines below:
– Wear a dust mask
– Use the pesticide grade of diatomaceous earth, NOT the pool grade
– Make sure it’s JUST diatomaceous earth; NO insecticides added.
Bed bugs gather and crawl in electrical conduits and live in wall voids. Use diatomaceous earth to plug these areas. DE works wonders in large furniture and around rooms you are using heat treatment.
Four steps for winning the war against bed bugs are as follows:
Step 1 – Pull Furniture Away From The Wall
Doing this gives you access to all the areas that you want to treat with DE. Any loose objects in the room should be stored in sealed boxes until your infestation treatment is complete.
Step 2 – Pour DE Behind All Face Plates
It’s important that you place DE behind all electrical and light switch face plates for added protection.
Step 3 – Add DE To Areas Where Walls Meet The Floors
The crevice between the wall and floor and where the molding meets the wall are two other places you’ll want to install DE for more protections against these critters.
Step 4 – Include DE Between The Carpet And Walls
It’s important that you use DE on the edges where your carpeting intersects the wall.
A bed bug interceptors, also known as pitfall traps, are simple devices for monitoring and management. These annoying insects cannot climb slippery and vertical surfaces. They are designed large enough so that a bed post can fit in it. It also is equipped with an outer “moat,” which traps and holds bed bugs.
The moat has vertical or near vertical sides. A light coat of talcum powder, in a small amount, is affixed to the inside of the cup. Too much will make it hard for you to see if bed bugs are in the trap. The talc makes it a challenge for a bed bug to get out of the moat. Also, talcum is not toxic for the bugs.
Use interceptor cups to:
– Protect you or your loved ones from new bed bug infestations.
– Monitor if bugs are present and how many
– Evaluate if the bed bug treatments worked or are working.
– Provide an early alert to bed bugs in hotels, apartments or homes.
– Your Do-It-Yourself bed bug management efforts.
It’s important that you place interceptor cups under bed posts that are in need of protection, from bed bugs. For maximum protection, be sure that beds do not touch the wall or any furniture nearby. Also, make sure that dust ruffles or any other type of bedding are not touching the floor.
If you’re monitoring bed bug activity, you can place interceptors at any location under the bed, couches, upholstered furniture. These are all place where bed bugs hide. Also, bed bugs are extremely mobile, so installing interceptors in areas where you don’t expect to find them is highly recommended. Other places to consider; bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, etc. When installing them under a bed, know it’s more useful if you put the interceptor under a utilized bed.
Here’s an example of monitoring just the bedrooms of a four bedroom house. Remember, just the bedrooms. This example does not include furniture or anything else.
You will need a minimum of 16 interceptors (assuming 4 cups per bed).
Occasionally, at least once a month, you will need to empty the traps of dust and debris. If you find that your interceptors have captured bed bugs, then it is best that you dump them into a tub with vertical sides to keep the bugs from escaping. You can also drop them in hot soapy water or use a plastic bag and dispose of them in an outdoor trash receptacle.
The following should ONLY be carried out after you have identified that the bites on your body were caused by bed bugs and not by another pest.
1 – Clean the affected area with soap and water.
The first step is to clean your bites with mild soap and water. It’s important to create a thick lather and apply it to the entire affected area. It has to dry while on the bitten areas so do not rinse it off. Cleaning your bites with soap and water is one of the best ways to receive instant relief from itching and reduce the chances of a skin infection
2 – Relieve itching with home remedies.
You’ll be surprised to know that several products that you have at home can be used to help ease itching from bed bug bites. Below you’ll find three to help you.
– Make a thick paste by mixing baking soda and water together. Apply the paste to the affected area on your body, let it dry and stay there an hour or longer. Once the hour is up, rinse the paste off with warm water.
– You can control the itching by using a natural astringent such as lemon juice, St. John’s Wort or witch hazel. Here’s how: Soak a cotton ball with either one of the solutions from above and pat the affected area to help dry it out.
– Infection from bed bug bites can come about due to scratching. Because of it’s antibiotic and anti-fungal qualities, Aloe can assist you in avoiding infection. Just apply the pure 100% aloe vera gel, from an aloe plant to your bites.
3 – Use a steroidal anti-itch over-the-counter cream.
Inflammation and itching can occur if you’re not taking care of your bites the proper way. A way to avoid this is by using a cream that has hydrocortisone or cortisone. One such cream is Cortaid. We recommend that you consult with your physician to find out which cream is ideal for you and your situation. A 1% hydrocortisone cream can be purchased at your favorite drugstore or pharmacy.
Be sure to follow the cream’s directions to ensure you are using it correctly. It’s very mild should not cause any side effects as long as you use it for a short amount of time. A week to be exact. To acquire a more potent corticosteroid cream, you’ll need a prescription from your doctor.
4 – Apply calamine lotion.
Calamine lotion has three main benefits when it comes to treating bed bug bites. It provides relief from itching, dries out the affected area, similar to a natural astringent, and it provides protection to your skin while it heals
5 – Use an oral antihistamine.
Sometimes bed bug bites can cause swelling and itchy rashes. These allergic reactions can be controlled with an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl.
If you choose to use Benadryl, make sure you adhere to the directions on taking the correct dosages. Benadryl causes drowsiness, so DON’T drive while taking it.
6 – Pain or discomfort? Get pain relief quickly.
If the infected area on your body is creating pain and discomfort, then you should consider taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, analgesic oral medication. Here are three that you can choose from
– Ibuprofen: works to reduce hormones that cause inflammation, pain, and fever in your body
– Aspirin reduces fever because it is an antipyretic. It is NOT for children.
– Tylenol: If you have kids who have experienced bed bug bites then Tylenol is safer for them than aspirin. It has similar attributes as aspirin, but it will NOT reduce your inflammation.
7 – See your doctor.
If one or two weeks have passed and your bed bug bite has not healed, then you should consider making an appointment with your physician.
Here are four other reasons why you should consult your doctor:
– Two or more bites.
– Blisters or welts.
– Showing symptoms of a skin infection.
– Experiencing an allergic reaction on your skin.
Signs Of An Infection
There’s a reason why your parents would tell you never to scratch an insect bite. Scratching can lead to infecting the problem area on your body. If you experience an infection from your bites, then they will resemble red and swollen, sensitive to the touch and expel discharge.
If for some reason you notice any of the above signs, then it’s important that you contact a physician because these are signs of possibly a secondary infection. Chances are your doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic. If it’s a mild infection, then medicine, without a prescription, will be enough.
Regardless of what you are experiencing with bed bug bites, we suggest that you talk with your doctor. They will know the exact steps to take to help heal the affected areas on your body. Do NOT take any medication without consulting with a physician first.
We Are NOT Doctors. We are ONLY providing you with information.
How Much Does A Bed Bug Exterminator Cost?
Learn more about getting rid of bedbugs (Cimex Lectularius).